Has Social Media Replaced Content as King?
Posted by Charles on August 20th, 2008
Image by nene9
Content is king. That’s what’s been said almost since the birth of the internet. It is logical. After all – why would anyone visit your site unless there’s content there worth checking out?
However, there’s always been one major problem with the content as king argument. Any blogger starting out will recognise this problem. New bloggers often produce great content - they have the king - yet the visitors simply don’t follow. No one knows about these new bloggers. They just don’t have the visibility.
Content without visibility is like a king without an empire. What the content is king argument has always meant is that content with promotion is king. Develop a great piece of content, promote it, and people will respond.
The usual promotion techniques would include pitching your content to bloggers, paying for reviews through a service such as ReviewMe, PPC ads, and so on.
These promotion techniques cost money and as a result could only be used to ‘light the fire’. Only truly great content would develop into a blaze.
Social media however has changed the game. There’s huge scope for mediocre content to gain visibility… if you are or know a power user you’re almost there. Social media sites are in effect cliques. They are dominated by a small powerful user base. Build relationships with power users or become one yourself and you’re in the club. For proof look no further than Digg - 31% of their homepage is submitted by 10 users.
Social media has changed the game. With a strong presence in social news sites ‘great content’ is no longer needed. Mediocre is enough.
I’m fairly active over at Mixx and notice this ‘power user’ effect all the time. Many of the articles which go hot are average articles - the person submitting the article matters more than what it actually says. What’s more, you often see articles from same sites going hot time and time again. Once people recognise your site they are increasingly likely to vote for you, often with blind voting. A snowball effect develops which works almost independently from the quality of your articles.
What do you think? Has social media replaced content as king or is exceptional content still the driving force?